Zionist, anti-Zionist and the confused

The following letter appears in today’s Sydney Morning Herald:

Messrs Knoll and Leonard (Letters, March 8) say that they represent the voice of reasoned debate and open democracy, free of vilification and intimidation. Do they really expect us to believe that their response to the award of the Sydney Peace Prize to a Palestinian, Hanan Ashrawi, was reasonable and non-intimidatory?

The constant harassing of media outlets and political parties is not simply to guarantee that anti-Semitism is countered. It is to control the debate so that important and reasonable alternative views on the Middle East are not heard. This is why the launch of Independent Australian Jewish Voices is so important.

Mike Clear Penrith

The following letters appear in today’s Age newspaper:

In its letter on this page yesterday the Executive Council of Australlian Jewry says it uses “reasoned argument and sound research to pursue sensible policies that reflect majority views”.

However, the authors of the letter strongly suggest that to do otherwise is to act counter to democratic ideals. This viewpoint neglects to account for the fact that healthy democratic discourse is also about openness to reasoned argument and policies that reflect minority views, even if these seriously challenge fundamental assumptions and values held by the majority.

Not to mention the fact that anyone who knows anything about Jewish scholarship and the Israeli media knows that both celebrate a healthier debate than the ECAJ is inclined to permit.

Jeremy Kenner, Parkdale

Keep it up!

At last a Jewish voice that does not iterate the Israeli Government pap or a pro-Zionist/anti-Palestinian view. Keep up the good work. You will do more to defeat anti-Semitism than most of the Jewish organisations “speaking for the Jews”.

P. Stephens, Yamba

Obstacle to peace

I find it extraordinary that Antony Loewenstein and his friends not only claim they want a two-state solution to the Arab-Israel conflict, but intimate that the Jewish community does not. The community is nearly wall-to-wall in its support for a peaceful and democratic Palestine side by side with Israel in secure borders. Loewenstein and some of the other signatories have frequently called for a one-state solution — which means the dismantling of Israel.

It is the Jewish community that is for peace, and Loewenstein and his supporters making peace more difficult.

Nathalie Samia, Randwick, NSW

Why this Jew signed

I am a former citizen of Israel and a signatory of the Independent Australian Jewish Voices petition. I have been an activist for Palestinian rights and an outspoken supporter of a one-state solution. The mainstream Australian Jewish community has been working hard to silence such anti-Zionist views. I signed the petition as an expression of protest against this attitude — not because I am a supporter of a two-state solution.

Avigail Abarbanel, Canberra

Trembling Israelites

The Israeli Government must be trembling in its boots, now that some eminent Australians have revealed the closely kept secret that not all Australian Jews have identical views about the state of Israel. Will Jerusalem now cease to worry about Iran and declare a state of emergency?

G. Silver, Kew

Jewish wars

No wonder they can’t sustain peace in the Middle East. Judging by the recent letters pages, Australian Jews spend most of their time fighting each other!

Kel Joaquin-Byrne, Randwick, NSW

The following letters appear in today’s Australian newspaper:

Antony Loewenstein, founder of Independent Australian Jewish Voices, does not accept Israel’s commitment to a two-state solution and admits IAJV’s petition singles out Israel as solely responsible for its impasse with the Palestinians.

One must question the IAJV’s supposed even-handedness when its founder ignores, for example, the Camp David summit in 2000 when Yassar Arafat rejected then Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak’s offer of the creation of a Palestinian state (following Israeli withdrawal from all of the Gaza Strip and some 95 per cent of the West Bank) and Palestinian control over East Jerusalem.

Similarly, IAJV’s bona fides are suspect if its signatories disregard any Palestinian responsibility. The Palestinian government’s position is unequivocal: “Palestine is an Islamic Waqf land consecrated for Muslim generations until Judgement Day (Hamas Covenant, Article 11)” and “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad (Article 13)”.

Neither Australian Jews nor Israelis need convincing of a two-state solution. Rather, it’s intractable Islamists whom IAJV should be targeting.
Geoffrey Zygier
Executive director,
Executive Council of Australian Jewry Inc,
South Caulfield, Vic

IAJV’s proclaimed manifesto appears almost identical to Israeli government policy and mainstream Jewish thought, except that the blanket condemnation of “violence by all parties, whether state-sanctioned or not” seems to imply a completely fallacious equivalence between Israel’s use of military force and Hamas’s terrorist aggressions. If this is IAJV’s intention, then surely “self-hating” is an exact description. What else can you call someone who supports and applauds those who wish to kill him? Hamas and other Palestinian militias rejoice at shedding Jewish blood and IAJV’s signatories are just as much on their hit-list as I am.
Judith Rona
Bondi, NSW